PLANO, Texas - Families in the neonatal intensive care unit build a special bond with the staff helping care for the babies. Over the weekend parents in Plano returned for a special reunion.
Every milestone is a reason for the Holloways to celebrate. Their son was once a patient in the Medical City Plano NICU.
“He eats a lot now. He’s a big boy now. In the beginning, it was a little scary,” said Anthony Holloway. “He was born at 37 weeks but he had lung problems so they had to do two chest tubes. He was in the NICU for 12 days.”
Mom Kelli Holloway said she cried every day. It was a scary time.
The room was filled with stories of heartache and fear turned into achievement.
“Oh we hit another ounce! You never thought you would be so excited about an ounce,” said Casey Burch, whose son Hunter was in the NICU.
“Dallas was born at 26 weeks. My water broke at 18 weeks. We were worried about lung development. He went home on oxygen,” said another NICU mom, Casey Stevenson. “Little less than a year later, he is completely off medication, no oxygen. You would never guess it other than his is flat headed. He is playing superhero with his head.”
No story is quite the same. But the families all credit the nurses in the NICU for helping them through a terrifying time.
“They take care of our kids when we can’t. It’s just hard, really hard. But they saved their lives,” Burch said.
“We were their guardian angels. We were their mommies and grannies at night when they couldn’t be here. They have to trust you. If they don’t trust you, they don’t want to leave and feel like they can’t leave the NICU,” said Medical City Plano NICU nurse Michele Strybel.
Strybel has been a registered nurse for 37 years and she’s worked in the NICU for 35 of those years. Looking around the room, she’s reminded how rewarding her job can be.
“Parents that didn't think they had a chance and now they’re here with their babies, taking pictures and were laughing and hugging and talking and it just makes me cry,” she said.
“Those doctors saved his life. But those nurses, they save his life. They saved mine,” Stevenson said.